THEY are luxury liners designed to take you around the world in style.

But cockroaches, dirty grout and “potentially hazardous” cheese were among the unsanitary conditions found on two Southampton cruise ships.

Inspectors shut down the Oceana’s swimming pool and spa baths after operator P&O failed a spot check in January, it has been revealed.

The firm’s Oriana liner, which has seen three norovirus outbreaks in the past five years, passed despite three cockroaches being found underneath a grill.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found 22 violations on each ship which posed potential health risks to passengers.

P&O Cruises said it had “immediately rectified” the problems.

The Oceana scored 82 out of 100 in an inspection whilst docked in the USA, missing the pass mark of 85.

Inspectors closed her swimming and spa pools after finding they were not disinfected, poorly tested and had inadequate levels of chlorine and bromine in the water.

Kitchen staff were rapped for keeping cheese and sandwiches at “potentially hazardous” temperatures, leaving food uncovered and allowing “noticeably dirty” grout to develop in the soup kitchen.

“Tile grout in this area was soiled and in disrepair,” the report said, adding that fruit flies were found in the starboard pantry.

Inspectors also found a food handler suffered symptoms of acute gastroenteritis, which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, but didn’t report it for nearly two-and-a-half hours.

Maritime lawyer Jim Walker said: “In an era when cruise lines are quick to blame every single norovirus outbreak on the passengers, this CDC report provides an insight into how deficient water sanitation and disgusting food handling practices by a cruise line can jeopardise the health of the travelling public.”

Oriana received a rating of 90 after a surprise visit in February.

Inspectors urged P&O to “effectively control the presence of insects, rodents and other pests” after three live cockroaches were found underneath grills in the galley.

Medical staff also failed to report bouts of diarrhoea from two crew members.

Under CDC rules, failing ships must submit a Corrective Action Statement to show how the violations were fixed, but these had not been made available at the time of going to press.

Only ships found to pose an imminent public health risk are kept from sailing.

A P&O Cruises spokeswoman said: “We are extremely disappointed in the result of this inspection and we immediately rectified the areas identified as needing attention.”

Liners sailing from Southampton received an average score of 94.7 in the latest round of inspections.

The latest 100 mark went to the Royal Princess in February, with Celebrity Eclipse, Caribbean Princess, Explorer of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Silver Cloud and P&O’s Ventura all scoring 99.

Before January, Oceana had scored at least 95 in every inspection since its takeover by P&O in 2002, while Oriana has notched four perfect marks and no failures since 1996.